Set atop a Ballycastle clifftop this traditional Mongolian Yurt offers a unique and cosy retreat on the Causeway Coastal Route. Keen for some end of year relaxation and respite beside the sea I booked into YurTreat with hosts Nicky and Pete who greeted me with the warmest of welcomes on arrival.
The yurt itself is a warm haven to relax in, inside you’ll find a sofa, table, double bed, lots of soft furnishings, and also a wood burning stove which kept the place super snug – even in the battering winds and pelting rain of Storm Dylan! The solar powered fairy lights, lanterns and candles all added to the intimate atmosphere. There is a separate shower room with a powerful hot shower and separate compost toilet complete with automatic solar lights! Having only been in operation since Christmas Eve already Nicky and Pete have added lots of lovely little touches to their unique abode.
Situated on the grounds of their ancestral home the landscaping is still a work in progress but a beautifully lit path takes you to the privacy of the yurt and beyond to the views across the sea to the island of Rathlin.
The couple have great plans for their special accommodation offering including plans to incorporate a fire pit and barbecue area for the summer months.
Located in the seaside town of Ballycastle the yurt is the perfect base for exploring the Causeway coast. A few minutes walk downhill you’ll find yourself at Ballycastle Marina to admire the boats or take a long stroll along the stretch of beach. There are any amount of eateries with Mauds ice cream shop being a must visit in any weather, Thyme & Co or Ursa Minor Bakery will more than hit the spot for great coffee and tasty lunches and a hearty dinner can be had at Central Bar on the main street or Marconis of the recently refurbished Marine Hotel. Or if you want to get a real flavour for the town check out Irish Feast‘s Food Tours with Caroline – you can read about her Rathlin Food Tour here. For sightseeing you are a short drive from Kinbane Castle and Fair Head or hop on the ferry over to Rathlin for a day of exploring lighthouses and wildlife.
Of course my own wanderings took me to a cemetery – Bonamargy Friary. Dating back to the 1500s the friary is full of stories and legends of treasures and ghosts. My favourite is that of the Black Nun, Julia McQuillan, a recluse and prophetess who lived in the 17th Century. She is said to have died on the stairs in the east range and haunts them still. Her grave is marked with a unusual stone cross at the doorway and if you carry out a little ritual around it you may even summon her ghost… I haven’t been successful…thus far.
Besides the food and sights of Ballycastle, mind and body restoration can be sought at The Loft with their evening drop in Yoga classes or back at the yurt Nicky is on hand for Reiki and meditation, what a perfect place for it.
You can book YurTreat through the Air BnB website here or check out their Facebook Page for more information. The yurt is easily accessible by public transport – from Belfast take the train to Coleraine and then the connecting causeway rambler bus to Ballycastle.
I for one will definitely be back to enjoy YurTreat later in the year!